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23rd August 2011

Consumer Council Welcomes Treasury Select Committee Report on Future of Cheques

The Consumer Council welcomes today’s report by the Treasury Select Committee on the future of cheques which states that the Payments Council must not have the power to abolish cheques. It also asks banks not to deter consumers from using cheques and asks the Payments Council to examine re-instating the cheque guarantee scheme.

Maeve Holly, Senior Consumer Affairs Officer at the Consumer Council says “The future of cheques is more secure following today’s report. That is good news for the many consumers in Northern Ireland who still use cheques on a regular basis to pay bills by post, pay a tradesman, make a donation to charity or pay school fees.  In particular older people and those who are housebound rely on cheques to manage their finances[1].

“We have shared the concerns of the Treasury Select Committee of an unmanaged decline of cheques and welcome today’s recommendations to address this. These include assurances from banks operating in NI that they will continue to provide cheque books to consumers who require them. We will continue to work with the Payments Council and financial institutions here to ensure that existing and new payment methods meet consumers’ needs”.

Today’s report follows the Payments Council’s decision in July 2011 to scrap plans to phase out cheques by 2018.

[1]The Payments Council is the organisation that sets the strategy for UK payments. It was set up by the payments industry in March 2007 to ensure that UK payment systems and services meet the need of payment service providers, users and the wider economy. www.paymentscouncil.org.uk

[1] 680m consumer cheques written in 2009.  225m (33%) were written by people over 65

ENDS

  1. Consumer Council media contact: Pauline Gordon, telephone, 028 9067 4807 or 079 0997 2704 or e-mail, [email protected]   
  2. The Consumer Council is an independent consumer organisation, working to bring about change to benefit Northern Ireland’s consumers. The Council campaigns for high standards of service and protection and a fair deal for all. It also carries out research, gives advice and publishes reports and other publications. It deals with individual complaints about buses, trains, planes, ferries, natural gas, electricity, coal and water.

3.         For more information, visit our website at www.consumercouncil.org.uk